By Jensyn Hartzell
Washington College Athletics, the Centennial Conference, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association are doing their best to keep student-athletes safe and healthy while also allowing them to play their sport in these unpredictable times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thad Moore, head athletic director at WC, has put out multiple statements and guidelines that student-athletes must follow to be eligible to play their sport. His most recent statement was released Feb. 8.
According to Moore, it is important to remember that these rules can change due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New rules that student-athletes must follow include wearing masks at all times on campus or in public, completing their Emocha app daily, and mandatory testing every two weeks.
If teams are scheduled to play a game against another college or university, WC student-athletes will be tested twice that particular week– once before the game and once after to make sure that they did not spread or receive the virus.
If student-athletes do contract COVID-19, they will be isolated for 10 days with their symptoms tracked according to WC’s COVID-19 Handbook.
If the athlete lives on-campus, they will be moved to designated isolation housing, but if they live off-campus they have the option of isolating in their house, on-campus, or returning home.
Student-athletes also must be monitored by the WC athletic trainers when returning to play to make sure the virus did not negatively affect their lungs or heart.
Moore explained that seasons will not be cancelled if a single team member contracts COVID-19. That teammate and whoever is identified as being in close-contact with them will only be put in isolation.
According to the WC COVID-19 Handbook, an individual identified as having close-contact with someone with the virus is someone who was with the ill person for more than 10-15 minutes, and was closer than six feet apart with or without a mask.
Seasons will only be cancelled if there is an outbreak on campus, which according to the WC COVID-19 handbook would put WC in the Red Alert Level and all students would be sent home.
Outside of athletics and campus living, Moore encourages student-athletes to follow Maryland’s COVID-19 rules. For example, student-athletes are allowed to go grocery shopping or out to eat, but must wear masks and social distance while doing so.
Official Maryland state COVID-19 rules can be found at https://governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus/
“Our student-athletes have done a great job of following all of the COVID-19 pandemic rules that have been established by the College and we feel that we have implemented a safe plan to return to play,” said Moore. “We hope to announce individual team schedules over the next couple of weeks.”
Featured Photo caption: Junior men’s basketball player Tray Wright. Photo by Mark Cooley.